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f I ^HE undersigned, being often applied to by relatives 
and others for particulars concerning the early 
history of the Winthrop family, has found it conve- 
nient to print the following condensed narrative, and has 
endeavored to compile it in a manner easy to be under- 
stood by persons who have never given much attention 
to genealogical pursuits. To this end he has thought 
it well to eschew all reference to dubious or exploded 
traditions, to omit many facts of secondary importance, 
and not to describe all the branches of the family in 

Any readers who may desire further acquaintance 
with the subject will do well to consult the two vol- 
umes of " Life and Letters of John Winthrop," by 
Hon. Robert C. Winthrop ; the four volumes of selec- 
tions from the " Winthrop Papers," already printed 

by the Massachusetts Historical Society; 1 and an earlier 
pamphlet by the undersigned, entitled " Some Account 
of the Early Generations of the Winthrop Family in 
Ireland.' ' 


10 Walnut Street, Boston, 

September, 1887. 

i 4 Mass. Hist. Coll., VI. and VII.; 5 Mass. Hist, Coll., I. and VIII. 
See also other volumes of the Society's Collections and Proceedings, 
passim. Further selections from the Winthrop Papers are in preparation. 



rpHE family of Winthrop (anciently Winthorpe), 
of Groton Manor, co. Suffolk, England, after- 
wards of Boston and New London in New England, 
took its name, by tradition, from the village of Win- 
thorpe, near Newark, in Nottinghamshire ; but its 
earliest ancestor of whom anything is known with 
certainty is, — 

I. Adam Winthrop, known to have been living at 
Lavenham, in Suffolk, in 1498, who had, by his wife 
Jane Burton, a son, — 

II. Adam Winthrop, second of that name (born in 
Lavenham, Oct. 9, 1498; died in Groton, Nov. 9, 1562), 
who became a wealthy London merchant ; acquired the 
manor of Groton, near Lavenham, in 1544; was inscribed 
Armiger by Edward VI. in 1548 -, 1 and in 1551 was Mas- 
ter of the influential Company of Clothworkers. 

1 The arms borne by the second Adam Winthrop were : " Argent, three 
chevrons Gules creneles, over all a lion rampant Sable armed and langued 
azure. Crest: a hare proper, running on a mount vert." They were 
confirmed to his descendants in 1592; but when or to whom they were 
originally granted, is uncertain. In later years they were sometimes 
differenced, and have often been incorrectly engraved. 


By his wives, Alice Henny and Agnes Sharpe, he had 
thirteen children, several of whom died in childhood. 
His daughter Alice married Sir Thomas Mildmay, and 
was mother of the distinguished soldier, Sir Henry 
Mildmay, of Graces, co. Essex. 1 His daughter Bridget 
married Koger Alabaster, of Hadleigh in Suffolk, and 
was mother of the poet and dramatist Dr. William 
Alabaster. Another daughter married Dr. John Cotta, 
author of a book on Witchcraft. Of his three surviv- 
ing sons, William, the eldest, was an active supporter 
of the Reformed Faith ; John, the second, eventually 
removed from Suffolk to the South of Ireland ; 2 while 
the third, who ultimately came into possession of 
Groton Manor, was, — 

III. Adam Winthkop, third of that name (born in 
London, Aug. 10, 1548; died in Groton, March 28, 
1623), a lawyer and county magistrate, who married 
1st, Alice, sister of Dr. John Still, Bishop of Bath and 
Wells ; and 2d, Anne, daughter of Henry Browne, of 
Edwardston, near Groton. For an interesting account 
of this third Adam Winthrop, see Vol. I. of the " Life 
and Letters of John Winthrop/ ' which contains nu- 
merous extracts from his diaries and commonplace 
books. His daughter Lucy married Emmanuel Down- 

1 Sir Thomas Mildmay's father married for his second wife the widow 
of the second Adam Winthrop. 

2 Joshua and Adam, sons of William, followed their uncle John to 
Ireland; and from one or other of them (it is not certain which) descends 
the existing English family of Winthrop, of whom William Winthrop 
was high-sheriff of Cork in 1744, and Benjamin Winthrop governor of 
the Bank of England towards the close of the last century. 

ing, and was mother of Sir George Downing, the 
diplomatist, while his only son was, — 

IV. John Winthkop, of Groton Manor (born in 
Edwardston, near Groton, Jan. 12, 1587; died in Bos- 
ton, March 26, 1649), a lawyer and county magistrate, 
who became a great Puritan leader, and emigrated to 
New England in 1630 as Governor of the Massachusetts 
Bay Colony. For a detailed account of the career and 
writings of this illustrious man, see the two volumes of 
his " Life and Letters " by his descendant, Hon. Eobert 
G. Winthrop. He married 1st, Mary, heiress of John 
Forth, of Great Stamb ridge, co. Essex ; 2d, Thomasine, 
daughter of William Clop ton, of Castleins, near Groton ; 
3d, Margaret, daughter of Sir John Tyndall, of Great 
Maplested, co. Essex; 4th, Martha, daughter of Cap- 
tain William Rainsborough, R. N., and widow of 
Thomas Coytmore ; and had by his first and third 
wives a numerous family, of whom the only surviving 
daughter married the eldest son of Gov. Thomas 

For letters and biographical notices of seven of 
Governor Winthrop's sons, see Part IV. of the " Win- 
throp Papers " (Massachusetts Historical Society's Col- 
lections, Series 5, Vol. VIII.). The fourth son, Stephen, 
returned to England, was a colonel and member of 
Parliament under Cromwell, but died in the prime of 
life, leaving daughters only. From the fifth son, Adam, 
descended a branch of the family only recently extinct 
in the male line, to which belonged Chief- Justice Adam 
Winthrop (1676-1743); the distinguished astronomer 


and Eevolutionary patriot, Professor John Winthrop, of 
Harvard (1714-1779); the late Judge James Winthrop; 
and others. The youngest son, Samuel, married in 
Holland, became a planter in the West Indies, and was 
in 1668 Deputy-Governor of Antigua, where his de- 
scendants were prominent for several generations, but 
are now extinct in the male line. Governor Win- 
throp's oldest son was, — 

V. John WiNTHRor (born in Groton, Feb. 12, 1606 ; 
died in Boston, April 5, 1676), generally styled " John 
Winthrop the younger " to distinguish him from his 
father ; one of the most accomplished scholars of his 
time ; an early member of the Eoyal Society ; founder 
of Ipswich, Mass., and New London, Conn. ; for nearly 
twenty years Governor of Connecticut, whose charter 
he had been instrumental in procuring from Charles II. 
After helping to build up the Massachusetts Colony, he 
had obtained, by grant and purchase, large tracts of 
land in Connecticut and Long Island, and in the inter- 
vals of public duty made his home in New London ; but 
he never lost his active interest in Boston, where he 
died and was buried. 1 He married, 1st, his cousin, 
Martha Fones, and 2d, Elizabeth, daughter of Edmund 
Reade, of Wickford, co. Essex, and stepdaughter of 

1 Gov. John Winthrop the elder, at the time he left England, is stated 
to have had an income equivalent, in our day, to between three and four 
thousand pounds per annum, and he subsequently received considerable 
grants of land in Massachusetts; but his great expenditure in further- 
ance of the Colony, coupled with the dishonesty of his agent, crippled 
him in later life, and his sons were largely dependent upon their own 


the famous Hugh Peters. By the latter he left issue, 
two sons and five daughters (Elizabeth, who married 
1st, Rev. Antipas Newman, and 2d, Zerubbabel, second 
son of Gov. John Endicott ; Lucy, Mrs. Edward Palmes, 
of New London ; Margaret, Mrs. John Corwin, of Salem ; 
Martha, Mrs. Richard Wharton, of Boston ; and Anne, 
Mrs. John Richards, of Boston). 

Of his two sons, the elder resided chiefly in Con- 
necticut, the younger in Massachusetts. The former, 
John (born in Ipswich, March 14, 1638 ; died in Bos- 
ton, Nov. 27, 1707), always known as Fitz-John to 
distinguish him from his father and grandfather, left 
Harvard College to accept a commission in the army 
of General Monk, under whom he served, in Scotland 
and elsewhere, till his regiment was disbanded at the 
Restoration. Returning to New England, he figured 
largely in the Indian wars; was in 1690 Major-General 
commanding the joint expedition against Canada ; sub- 
sequently for a number of years Agent of Connecticut 
at the Court of William III. ; and from 1698 till his 
death, in 1707, Governor of Connecticut. In the lat- 
ter part of his life he lived much at New London, 
where he maintained great hospitality ; but, like his 
father and grandfather, he died and was buried in 
Boston. He married Elizabeth, daughter of George 
Tongue, by whom he had an only daughter, wife of Col. 
John Livingston, of Albany ; but the greater part of his 
landed property was inherited by his younger brother, 

VI. Wait Still Winthrop, generally known as 
Wait Winthrop (born in Boston, Feb. 27, 1642 ; died 


in Boston, Nov. 7, 1717), a soldier of the Indian wars; 
for more than thirty years Major-General commanding 
the Provincial Forces of Massachusetts ; Judge of the 
Superior Court ; Judge of Admiralty ; and some time 
Chief-Justice of Massachusetts. Although he had not, 
like his father, the advantage of a foreign univer- 
sity education, he inherited no small portion of the 
latter's scientific tastes, particularly for the study 
of medicine, often practising gratuitously among his 
poorer neighbors. Judge Sewall, in his Diary, speaks 
of him as " the great stay and ornament of the Coun- 
cil, a very pious, prudent, courageous New England 
man." He married, 1st, Mary, daughter of Hon. 
William Browne, of Salem, and 2d, Katharine, daugh- 
ter of Capt. Thomas Brattle and widow of John Eyre, 
of Boston. By the former he left issue a daughter, 
Anne (wife of Thomas Lechmere, brother of Lord 
Lechmere), and an only surviving son, — 

VII. John Winthkop, generally distinguished as 
" John Winthrop, P. R. S." (born in Boston, Aug. 26, 
1681; died at Sydenham, near London, Aug. 1, 1747), 
Harvard College, 1700. He married KMharinc , one 
of the daughters of Gov. Joseph Dudley, and, in 1711, 
removed from Boston to New London, in order to 
devote himself to the improvement of the family 
property in Connecticut. The occupation was ill- 
suited to his tastes and habits, and he gradually 
became involved in litigation with his tenants and 
neighbors, as well as in costly mining speculations, 
which ultimately proved disastrous. Believing him- 


self wronged by certain decisions of the Courts and 
Legislature of Connecticut relative to the distribu- 
tion of his father's estate, he went to England in 
1727 and obtained redress from the Privy Council ; 
but failing to receive the political preferment to 
which he conceived he had a sort of hereditary 
claim, he continued to reside abroad until his death, 
twenty years later, becoming an active member of 
the Royal Society, one of the volumes of whose 
Transactions is dedicated to him. 1 His wife survived 
him, and married Jeremiah Miller, of New London 
(Yale College, 1709), dying, in 1776, at the great age 
of ninety- two. 

The five surviving daughters of John Winthrop, 
F. R. S., were : Mary, wife of Gov. Joseph Wanton 
of Rhode Island ; Anne, who never married ; Kath- 
arine, who married, 1st, Hon. Samuel Browne, of Salem, 
and 2d, Col. Epes Sargent ; Rebecca, wife of Gurdon 
Saltonstall, son of Governor Saltonstall of Connecti- 
cut ; and Margaret, wife of Jeremiah Miller, Jr., of 
New London. 

1 His diary gives an interesting account of his visit to the old family 
seat at Groton in April, 1728, nearly a hundred years after Gov. John 
Winthrop the elder left it for New England. The manor-house, built by 
the second Adam Winthrop in 1551, has since been pulled down ; but there 
is still standing an ancient house known as Groton Place, which by tradi- 
tion is associated with the family. The church contains the brass of the 
second Adam Winthrop, and near by is the tomb of his son, the third 
Adam. There are also modern memorial windows to Gov. John Winthrop 
and his first and second wives, both of whom were buried in the chancel. 
Groton, since the decline of the Suffolk cloth-trade, has dwindled to a 
small agricultural village ; but it is within an easy drive of Sudbury, 
Melford, and Lavenham, — all three places of interest to the antiquarian 


Of the two surviving sons of John Winthrop, 
F. R. S., the younger, Basil, died unmarried ; the 
elder was, — 

VIII. John Still Winthrop (born in Boston, Jan. 
15, 1720; died in New London, June 6, 1776), Yale 
College, 1737. In early life he resided for some 
time in England, and occasionally in Boston ; but 
after his marriage chiefly in New London, where he 
built the large house (still standing) at the head of 
Winthrop's Cove, described in Peters's " History of 
Connecticut/ ' in 1787, as "the best house in the 
Province," and in which he died at the compara- 
tively early age of fifty-six. He had inherited 
neither the scientific tastes of his immediate ances- 
tors, nor any ambition to distinguish himself in 
public life ; but, on the other hand, he was an 
excellent man of business, and succeeded in disen- 
tangling his father's estate from the embarrassments 
resulting from the latter's imprudence. 1 

He married, 1st, in 1750, Jane, daughter of Francis 
Borland, of Boston, and granddaughter of Hon. Tim- 
othy Lindall, of Salem; and 2d, in 1761, Elizabeth, 
daughter of William Shirreff, of Annapolis, Nova 
Scotia, and widow of Capt. John Hay, 40th Foot. 
By both marriages he had issue, — in all, fourteen 

His five married daughters were : Jane, Mrs. Wil- 

1 The well-known Fisher's Island, off New London, which formed part 
of the original grant to John Winthrop, Jr., in 1640, remained in posses- 
sion of a branch of the family till 1862. 


liam Stewart ; Anne, Mrs. David Sears ; Mary, Mrs. 
Richard W. Parkin ; Elizabeth, Mrs. Jacob Sebor ; 
and Margaret, Mrs. Adolphus Yates, afterwards Mrs. 
John Marston. 

Of his nine sons, two died in childhood ; two others, 
John (Harvard College, 1770) and William, never 
married; while the other five, who married and left 
issue, were : — 

1. Francis Bayard Winthrop, of New York (born 
in New London, March 11, 1754; died in New York, 
May 16, 1817), married, 1st, 1779, Elsie, daughter of 
Thomas Marston, and 2d, 1790, Phoebe, daughter of 
John Taylor, both of New York; 

2. Joseph Winthrop, of Charleston, South Caro- 
lina (born in New London, June 19, 1757; died in 
Charleston, July 26, 1828), married, 1788, Mary, 
daughter of Alexander Fraser, of Charleston ; 

3. Thomas Lindall Winthrop, of Boston (born 
in New London, March 6, 1760 ; died in Boston, 
Feb. 21, 1841), Harvard College, 1780, Lieutenant- 
Governor of Massachusetts. Married, 1786, Eliza- 
beth, daughter of Sir John Temple, Bart., and grand- 
daughter of James Bowdoin, of Boston, Governor of 
Massachusetts ; 

4. Benjamin Winthrop, of New York (born in 
New London, Sept. 17, 1762 ; died in New York, 
Jan. 9, 1844), married, 1785, Judith, daughter of 
Peter Stuyvesant, of New York; 

5. Robert Winthrop (born in New London, Dec. 
7, 1764; died in Dover, England, May 10, 1832), 


Vice-Admiral, E.N. Married, 1804, Sarah, daughter 
of Thomas Farbrace, of Dover, England. 

From the above five brothers (all but one of whom 
ended by severing their connection with Boston) de- 
scend the numerous existing branches of the Winthrop 
family, now widely scattered in different parts of the 
United States and Europe. It does not enter into the 
purpose of this condensed narrative to describe their 
various generations in detail. It is enough to say 
that the descendants of the oldest brother have mul- 
tiplied in a much larger proportion than those of 
the others, and that, for more than thirty years past, 
the senior representative of the name, in the eleventh 
generation of lineal descent, has been Henry Eogers 
Winthrop, Esq., of New York (born in 1811; Yale 
College, 1830), who is eldest son of the late John 
Still Winthrop, of New York, who was eldest son of 
the above-named Francis Bayard Winthrop, second 
son of the first John Still Winthrop. Mr. H. E. 
Winthrop has a son, Buchanan Winthrop (Yale Col- 
lege, 1862), who is married and has issue. 1 

For an equally long period the most conspicuous 
member of the family has been the Hon. Eobert C. 
Winthrop, of Boston (born in 1809 ; Harvard College, 
1828), who is the youngest and only surviving son 
of the above-named Hon. Thomas Lindall Winthrop, 
fifth son of the first John Still Winthrop. The bulk 

1 The late Major Theodore "Winthrop, the novelist, and the ]ate General 
Frederick Winthrop, who fell at Five Forks, were also grandsons of the 
above-named Francis Bayard Winthrop. 


of the family papers, covering the period from the 
close of the sixteenth to the middle of the eigh- 
teenth century, came many years ago into his posses- 
sion, to be used for historical purposes in the volumes 
already cited and in others which are in course of 

It may be well to add that the most authentic ori- 
ginal portrait of Gov. John Winthrop (attributed to 
Van Dyck, and known to have been in the Gover- 
nor's house in Boston at the time of his death) has 
hung for generations in the Senate Chamber of Mas- 
sachusetts; that the original portrait of the second 
Adam Winthrop (attributed to Holbein) is in posses- 
sion of Robert Winthrop, Esq., of 118 Fifth Avenue, 
New York, who also possesses originals of Gov. John 
Winthrop of Connecticut ; of Gov. and Mrs. Fitz-John 
Winthrop and their daughter, Mrs. Livingston ; of Gen. 
Wait Winthrop; of John Winthrop, F. R.S., and his 
wife Anne Dudley ; and others. 

Note. — The village near Newark to which allusion has been made as 
the place whence the Suffolk Winthrops traditionally came, is entered in 
Domesday Book as Wymondthorpe, — so called from an adjacent stream, the 
Wymond, but at a very early period contracted to Winthorpe. There has 
been, however, from time immemorial a wholly distinct village of Win- 
thorpe, on the coast of Lincolnshire, from which it would seem not im- 
probable some other family of the same name might have sprung. Be 
this as it may, the surname has always been an uncommon one, and I find 
only three recorded instances of it prior to the first Adam W. The earliest 
of these is on a roll of the county of York in the year 1200, where figures 
one " Robert de Winetorp," of whom nothing whatever is known, and who 
is not likely to have been related to the existing family. Nearly two cen- 
turies and a half later there died in Nottinghamshire one " William 
Wynethorpe, of Wynethorpe," whose will, dated April 13, 1445, mentions 


his wife Elizabeth and son Robert, the latter of whom, it is conjectured, 
may eventually turn out to have been father of the first Adam Winthrop. 
In these days of extravagant genealogical pretensions, however, I desire 
to record my belief that the original Winthrops were in all probability 
Nottinghamshire yeomen, one of whom was attracted to Suffolk by the 
development of the cloth-trade in the period of tranquillity immediately 
succeeding the Wars of the Roses. 

In modern times the surname has not infrequently been a favorite one 
with impostors and begging-letter writers. It has also been fancifully 
assumed by persons who preferred it to their own ; and investigation has 
established at least one instance where it has been borne in good faith by 
several generations whose original claim to it might have been contested. 
With all such this narrative has no concern. 

I should add that in the neighborhood of Edinburgh and Newcastle- 
on-Tyne is sometimes found the name " Wintrip," or " Wintrup," of the 
origin of which nothing appears to be known, but which, it has been 
suggested, may be a corruption of the Lincolnshire Winthorpe. 

R. C. W., Jk 



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